Support for the monarchy has risen after the death of the Queen Mother and only 12 per cent of Britons want it to be abolished, according to an opinion poll for The Independent.
The survey, by NOP, conducted between Friday and Sunday, found that 54 per cent of people want the monarchy left as it is, while 30 per cent believe it should be retained but radically reformed. Four per cent are undecided.
A year ago, a poll showed that 34 per cent wanted the monarchy scrapped, an all-time high, and that people were evenly divided on whether Britain would be better off without the Royal Family.
The Independent's survey reflects the national mood as the country prepares for the funeral of the Queen Mother at Westminster Abbey today.
Last night the Queen thanked the public in a televised address for the "love and honour" shown to her mother in life and death, as the number of people who had filed past the coffin in Westminster Hall reached an estimated 150,000. A candlelit vigil was mounted there last night by the Queen Mother's grandsons, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and Lord Linley.
The poll revealed strong support for the monarchy among young people. Only 14 per cent of those in the 15 to 24 age group want to see the monarchy abolished, while 20 per cent favour radical reform and 58 per cent want it left as it is now. People between the ages of 25 and 54 are keener on reform than younger and older people, with 36 per cent in favour and less than half of them supporting the status quo.
Backing for the monarchy is strongest among older people:64 per cent of those aged 65 and above support the "no change" option, with only 24 per cent favouring reform and 10 per cent wanting abolition.
Men appear keener to see the end of the monarchy than women. Abolition is supported by 14 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women. But more women (33 per cent) favour reform than men (26 per cent).
Working-class people are more supportive of the royals than those in the higher social classes. Some 60 per cent of those in the D/E socio-economic group back the status quo, with only 10 per cent favouring abolition and 23 per cent radical reform. In contrast, 50 per cent of the top A/B group support "no change", 13 per cent want to see the monarchy scrapped and 35 per cent favour reform.
Anti-royal sentiment appears strongest in Scotland, where one in five (21 per cent) favours abolition and a minority (48 per cent) endorse the status quo.
In Wales, abolition is backed by only 9 per cent and 62 per cent want no change. Support for the monarchy is highest in East Anglia, where 65 per cent want it left as it is now.
The poll findings are a setback to campaigners for reform of the monarchy. Michael Jacobs, general secretary of the Fabian Society, said the majority support for the status quo was "not surprising" after the Queen Mother's death and insisted it was "significant" that 30 per cent backed radical reform in the current climate.
Tony Blair said he was "not surprised" by the crowds flocking to pay their respects to the Queen Mother. "I think people have a tremendous affection for the Queen Mother. I am very pleased that has happened," he said.
NOP interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults by telephone between Friday and Sunday.
Do you think the monarchy should be...
Left as it is now? 54%
Radically reformed? 30%
Abolished altogether? 12%
Don't know? 4%
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